The Kallikak Family
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The Kallikak Family

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The best kept secret in music


"Tiny Mix Tapes, on "The Vineland Social Maturity Scale""

I've been taken by surprise on countless occasions when it comes to listening to a new artist or band. In fact, more often than not, I get so caught off guard that I immediately give praise without a second thought. This approach often sets up our readers for possible disappointment. So recently, I've given more time for albums to soak through my thick-ass cranium, sometimes giving albums months prior to reviewing it. This is the case with The Kallikak Family's The Vineland Social Maturity Scale, a collection of pop-folk recordings filled with psychedelic melodies and haunting minimalism. And as most albums lose their initial enthusiasm, The Kallikak Family continues to impress and astonish after repeated listens.

The Kallikak Family is known as the study in the heredity of feeble-mindedness and was introduced in 1913 by Henry Herbert Goddard at a training school in Vineland, NJ. The Vineland Social Maturity Scale is a parallel to the methods used in the study, showcasing a devoutly corresponding and equivalent measuring in the musical sense. As humans progress in maturity and development, so does The Vineland Social Maturity Scale. The opening track "One Familiar Person" is a simplified, hushed folk ditty that is absolutely compelling. As the album progresses, so does the accompanied instrumentation, as many elements are intertwined with Andrew Peterson's luscious acoustic ballads. And the addition of off-kilter harmonica and drums as interludes keep the progression of the record fresh and invigorating.

Like the Kallikak Family scale of evaluation, The Vineland Social Maturity Scale advances astonishingly with its gorgeous musical creativity and imagination. It's an impressive project marked with all the signs of a positive future. But don't let me tell you that. Pick up a copy and analyze the record yourself. You'll find that The Kallikak Family succeeds at the proverbial journey to maturity.
- Tiny Mix Tapes

"Losing Today on "Vineland..""

Who is Andrew Peterson and why has he decided to dedicate a record to a treaty of 1935 concerning mental illness? I don’t know, or rather I know only what Peterson himself has revealed: that in the past he performed in improbable shows in Chicago with the (equally improbable) moniker of May 23rd 2007, that he had a great time travelling the world with Phill Elvrum as one of the last incarnations of Microphones leaving all of a sudden to attend the Vineland School in New Jersey, the best in the States for mental illness, perfecting his studies on the famous book: “The Vineland Social Maturity Scale�, which lends its name to the second album produced by Peterson with the alias, The Kallikak Family. It’s a record where extremely different, and irreconcilable worlds co-exist: “nude and crude� songs which bring to mind names like Pedro The Lion and Bright Eyes (Peterson, however, is lacking in both the vocal quality and appeal of these two), shoulder to shoulder with assorted noise and delirium, characteristic suggestions of the most accessible avant-garde. This is a difficult work which sees continuous changes in rhythm and crazy arrangements. It’s almost as if the continually bizarre elements and the “filth� with which the material is presented, constitute the most important side to the songs. It really is impossible to avoid being fascinated by the oddity and eccentricity which is sought out with every step of this record. - Losing Today


May 23rd 2007 - full-length CD - Tell-All Records
The Vineland Social Maturity Scale - full-length CD - On Purpose Records
Appearance on compilation for States' Rights records


Feeling a bit camera shy


May 23rd 2007 is the most important date in one man's life. It is also the man himself. In order to understand its own significance, May 23rd 2007 has been fully engaging with countless other dates over the past three years, interpreting the unique heft of each while preserving their raw aural data for posterirty. It is May 23rd 2007's belief that the undiluted core of any given day's historical meaning is preserved at any moment of humanity's interaction with it, regardless of locale. Unable to unlock the mystery of future self through mere examination of field recordings, May 23rd 2007 has taken drastic steps, performing radical surgeries on the vast libraries of tapes and suturing the organic matter to warm synths and irregular drumbeats.

Before May 23rd 2007 was a date, he was the reclusive mastermind behind The Kallikak Family, a folk-grounded experimental group based in Chicago, IL. The Kallikak Family was founded in order to musically explore the writings of now discredited psychologist H.H. Goddard, famous for his purported coinage of the term "moron." Using the concept of "feeble-mindedness" as a starting point, the Kallikaks wrote catchy, overdriven songs about subjectivity, underestimation and the large, oppressive sun. It was at this point that May 23rd 2007 discovered the Chicago underground noise movement, and embarked on a series of solo performances that combined an appreciation for ambient textures with a flair for performance art. May 23rd 2007's unsettlingly hilarious shows involved such bizaare elements as tape-delayed audience interaction, camping, and countless jokes dropped purposefully as lame ducks to universal discomfort. After spending a year in Portland, OR making contact micorphones with Adam Forkner (Yume Bitsu, [[[VVRSSNN]]]) and collaborating with artists such as Liam Singer, May 23rd 2007 relocated to Santa Cruz, CA and then to Berkeley, CA to continue his exploration of PURITY music - the sound a computer makes.